I was just thinking this morning how much time and energy I waste being aggravated about things that I cannot change – or things that don’t really matter, or have consequence in terms of things eternal. The first reading today used the word “vanity” seven times. I think, “I am not vain,” and yet I won’t leave the house without makeup. I am disgusted by the little fat roll that has developed beneath my belly button, and will no longer allow my to button last years shorts. I look long and hard at my age spots and the wrinkles that are taking root above my upper lip. I am so guilty!
We can allow things such at these to derail our good intentions and distract us from holier, healthier pursuits. If we give these little humiliations and frustrations the power to consume our thoughts, we have just given into the devil. Yep! That stinkin’ devil is after me – telling me to pick myself apart – telling me that I am no longer worthy, because I am showing my age. Do these things really matter to God?
Aging can actually be a blessing. The process is naturally a humbling one, as we lose out youthful appearance, and can no longer comfortably do all the things that we used to be able to do. I’ve heard it said that the key to holiness is humbleness. Maybe that’s why so many old people seem to be so holy. Many fill our churches on weekdays as daily communicants. They have learned to spend their time on things of eternal importance.
The elderly are often humbled in having to accept limitations and depend on others for help. The physical pain that many endure can be purifying and spiritually refining, if accepted as a gift from God. That’s quite a challenge. It’s a big circle – We come into this world helpless and we often leave this life in much the same state. Why does that frighten and disturb us so?
My challenge to myself this week is to dig deeper – to try not to focus on the surface things about myself that are upsetting – and to give God the time to develop more inner beauty within me. I want to be work less on being perfecting the outside of me (a losing battle) and more on perfecting my soul – the part that will last forever.
I was just thinking – if I die an old woman, (I still have a grandmother living who is 93) will my resurrected body be thirty-something looking? Oh, I do hope so!